The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ETS
No. 148) is a unique instrument for the protection of endangered
languages. If properly implemented, it may help to prevent the extinction
of certain languages in regions where they have been traditionally
used for centuries.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights notes that
only half of the Council of Europe’s member states have acceded
to this legal instrument and asks the question of why so few have
done so. It also observes that there are problems with the implementation
of the charter in the member states that have ratified it and that
some states have trouble acknowledging the existence of regional
or minority languages on their territory.
It is necessary to call again on national parliaments to ratify
the charter without further delay, notwithstanding the reasons advanced
for not doing so. States that have already ratified it should make
greater efforts to discharge the obligations resulting from their
ratification of this instrument and to exchange information more effectively
amongst each other, and with the Council of Europe.
The committee also pays tribute to the charter’s committee
of experts and its valuable role and as well as its contribution
to the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages
in Europe. It makes some proposals to increase the committee of
expert’s resources and ensure the effective implementation of the charter’s
Moreover, reinforced co-operation with other European organisations,
such as the European Union, would also be helpful in promoting the
ratification of the charter and its proper implementation.